Q: Does Robitussin help fertility?

A: Cervical mucus problems are rarely the problem when a couple has difficulties getting pregnant. The three major causes of infertility are ovulation problems, sperm problems, and problems with the fallopian tubes. None of these problems can be solved by taking Robitussin.

The major ingredient in plain Robitussin is Guaifenesin. Some claim that it thins the cervical mucus and helps sperm penetrate the cervix. But there are no reliable studies that show that it improves fertility. There are also no reliable studies proving the safety of guaifenesin in pregnancy. Because guaifenesin has a reputed effect on fluids secreted in the respiratory tract, one research group investigated whether the administration of this drug could alter the characteristics of cervical mucus and improve sperm survival and fertility.

This brief report suggested that guaifenesin improved fertility in 80% of the cases in which the cause of infertility was believed to be primarily the cervical mucus: Check JH et al.: Improvement of cervical factor with guaifenesin. Fertil Steril 37:707-8, 1982. Taking guaifenesin will not improve his sperm count. Nor will it open up fallopian tubes that are closed. And it won't induce ovulation in a woman who does not ovulate.

When you have difficulties getting pregnant, your first visit should be with a specialist to find out the causes of your infertility.